A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video-game industry.
In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video-game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a former Mattel executive who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat, and bold ideas of his renegade employees, completely transformed Sega and led to a ruthless, David-and-Goliath showdown with Nintendo. Little did he realize that Sega's success would create many new enemies and, most important, make Nintendo stronger than ever.
The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and school yards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the United States against Japan.
Based on more than 200 interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the tale of how Tom Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punch line into a market leader. Blake J. Harris brings into focus the warriors, the strategies, and the battles and explores how they transformed popular culture forever. Ultimately, Console Wars is the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, give birth to a $60 billion industry.
©2014 Blake J. Harris (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
As a lover of video games, this is a beyond epic story. It delves into the nitty gritty marketing aspect of the first console war without becoming dry due to the author's cinematic storytelling. The narrator is top notch.
I got turned on to this book from listening to the How Did This Get Made podcast, where the author, Blake J. Harris writes a companion piece to each episode. I found the amount of information he was able to get out of these filmmakers about their oftentimes WORST film to be captivating. HDTGM would often mention this novel, so I was intrigued. I'm an 80s child and remember the whole Sega/Nintendo rivalry. When I saw the Audible version was over 20 hours, I had to give it a listen. This is the easiest bio type book I've ever heard or read. The characters are all great, each with different voices matching their personalities, the flow of the story is lovely, and the tone hopeful. Never knowing the specifics, and always wondering, Console Wars entertainingly explains everything I wanted to know about the Sega/Nintendo rivalry. What's up with a sequel??? Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft?
I really enjoyed the story. If you were a kid during the 16-bit console wars, you might enjoy hearing the rest of the story behind Sonic and and Star Fox and Donkey Kong Country.
The book focuses on the marketing competition between Sega and Nintendo; I would've enjoyed hearing a lot more about the development of the characters and games.
great performance, really wish it covered all the way through to the publishing date. then we could see the new players in the console wars including Microsoft and Apple.
Who do you route for when everyone is an underdog? First Nintendo comes out of nowhere to attempt to rebuild the industry, second Sega comes along to topple them and finally Sony starts a little division to take on Sega!
As a retro gaming nerd, I knew most of the stories, but the way this book interweaves them is amazing!
For example you might know the stories behind the 32X and DKC but hearing them told together sheds a whole new light on both projects.
This book also contains a lot of humor and is just a joy to listen to. You'll be glued to the audible app/website until you finish!
Sega fan here! The last part as stated by many was too synthesized and doesnt cover the dream cast or saturn ( 32x and sega cd briefly...) i enjoyed a lot while lasted ( long book!)
Some surprising stories! Very enjoyable performance as well. If you grew up with 90s video games, you MUST read this book!
I feel depressed at the likelihood that other readings and stories will not even scratch the absolute excellence of this tale.
This book is outstanding until the last couple hours. The ending is rushed and very important facts and aspects are skimmed over quickly, or just ignored all together. Basically, the author builds everything up and then just let's you down abruptly. Despite all of that, I still enjoyed the book somewhat.
"Not as poorly told as some would have you think"
An insightful account of politics and history of the men who helped to build the video gaming generation and the tales that brought us to the point we are at today. Listening to this book it is easy to understand why the video game industry is only at the point it is now and that things are frankly not more advanced. It's because of men like the ones portrayed in this book that we are only yet to receive a consumer version of Virtual Reality, and this book and the story it tells, explains why we are at the level we are...
The narrater him self is adept with an excellent array of voices for each of the characters. The style of this book is completely designed to lend it self to a movie rather then a documentary, and thats a good thing as there are other books and videos out there which will give you the documentary style if you want it. A lot of people have spoken out against the script, and while I understand what they mean, I have worked with business men who speak exactly like this. Business men who speak in overly 'cool' ways with no real substance to what they say, but unfortunately this seems to be the way of the business world. If anything the script is quick to get to the point, but if it were drawn out it would take ten years to read it.
"Ruined by the cheesey Americano style"
This is just like a big greasy burger from an American diner, with extra cheese, and nothing but a big milk shake to wash it down. Initially that sounds great, but about half way through it you've had enough, and you realise why there is a problem with obesity in the United States.
I was very curious about the Sega/Nintendo days of the early nineties. Listen to this - which is hopelessly biased against Nintendo by the way - and I'm sure you won't get more than half of the story.
The lack of objectivity irritates after a while. This is purely for the Mega Drive crowd out there. I owned both (Mega Drive and SNES) - and further more over time I owned both the Gameboy and the Gamegear (the latter was hopeless because of the battery issues).
Read this and you would like to think that it was Nintendo, and not Sega, that tanked immediately in the face of the Sony Playstation, and didn't even live to see the entry of Microsoft into the market.
The dialogue between the central characters is so contrived that it couldn't possibly have happened. This is a fictionalised retelling of events that portrays the executives as American style hip shooting, fast talkers who riff with each other verbally. It is like watching an episode of 'Suits' or something as equally awful.
So it is very very sickly.
Plus the narrative performance is so incredibly American that you can only take so much. I think that there are any number of great American narrators - but this voice has everything that makes you want to switch it off. It is all incredibly smug.
"Wonderful insight into a battle of a generation"
As someone who grew up while the battle between Sega and Nintendo was on full force, this book gives a wonderful picture of what was going on behind the scenes to win the hearts and minds of my generation.
The stories form an incredibly engaging narrative and I enjoyed this immensely.
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